SILVERSTONE, 5th July 2014 (F1 Plus / Graham Keilloh) - At Silverstone today there was at the broadest level a strong qualifying result for Force India, with both of its cars placed in the top seven. But there was rather a corkscrew path in getting there.
While Sergio Perez looked set for a P3 starting slot before most made last-gasp improvements which dropped him down to P7, for his team mate Nico Hulkenberg it was the opposite story as he was able to leap up to P4 at the death.
And both drivers’ words afterwards reflected their fortunes. ‘Yes I am (pleased)’ said Hulkenberg. ‘Obviously a very tricky and challenging session with the changes in weather, the unpredictable showers not visible on the radar and then the changes in the track being wet-dry…it was a big challenge.
‘But it’s also a good challenge. Not a straightforward dry session where everything goes to plan. This is a bit more hot.’
On his late effort that vaulted him to fourth place, Hulkenberg admitted that early in the lap things were not looking good for him: ‘To begin with it was nowhere and I thought almost of aborting it, because it felt really bad…When I progressed the lap it went better and better and especially in the final sector where before I’d lost a lot of time due to rain and I won about four seconds so that made up for it.’
Perez’s words meanwhile betrayed that he was torn between the positive of having a fairly good grid slot, but tempered by that it was one that in the circumstances could have been even better.
‘In a way (I’m) optimistic with the result but in another way disappointed with how things ended up’ said Perez. ‘We were third before the last lap and it was really wet and when I was warming my tyres up I ran wide at turn 11, so while coming back I lost a lot of (tyre) temperatures and then I had the Mercedes so I had to let them through. So then I basically lost the momentum to do any better. And then I had the chequered flag so I didn’t have the opportunity to go quicker, which is a big shame.’
Both Force India drivers are hopeful of a strong race result however. ‘We have big hopes for tomorrow, I think my race pace is strong’ said Perez. ‘I’m very confident in what I have to do tomorrow so I see no reason why I can’t move forward.’
Hulkenberg was similarly minded, even though his long-run pace in Friday practice was not too impressive: ‘Yesterday was very difficult, not really representative. We seem to suffer a lot under the windy conditions, so today that was a lot less, hopefully it will be the same tomorrow, so not so windy, then I think we will have better pace for sure than we’ve seen yesterday.’